Couch's/Tropical Kingbird,  Tyrannus couchii/melancholicus

Number of records accepted to the Couch's/Tropical kingbird species complex for Louisiana = 17 as of June 2015  

Accepted Records

The following records pertain to either Couch's or Tropical kingbirds, but were not identifiable to one species. They were reviewed as, and accepted as part of, the Tropical/Couch's species complex.

One (91-29) on 27-28 Apr. 1991, Cameron: Holly Beach; Alfred E. and Gwen B. Smalley (ph), Curtis C. Sorrells (ph), John P. Sevenair, Phillip A. Wallace (ph), Curtis A. Marantz, and Kenneth V. Rosenberg (ph only)(AB 45(3):458; LOS 141).

One (92-23) on 15 Feb. 1992, Jefferson Davis: Parish Road 7-7, just N of Parish Road 7-7a; Curtis A. Marantz (ph) and Mark Swan (ph). The bird vocalized only once, a "chu-zwee” or "blreet" call when it was attacked by a Loggerhead Shrike. This call was unfamiliar to the observers, and they did not believe that they could assign the bird to species based on the single call heard; no recordings were made of the call (AB 46(2):278; LOS 147).

One (98-140) on 28 Sep 1998, Cameron: [Johnsons Bayou], Hwy. 82, 3/4 mi. E of turnoff to Holleyman Sanctuary; Robby J. Bacon; NAB 53(1): 64.

One (99-28) on 9 May 1999, Gulf of Mexico: Vermilion 265A oil platform, 77 mi. S of Pecan Island, 28o 30’ 45” N, 92o 27’ 04” W; B. Mac Myers III (ph); NAB 53(3): 290, LOS News 187: 3.

One (99-27) from 15 Jun-7 Jul 1999, Lafourche: beach W of Fourchon Road; Phillip Wallace (ph taken 19 Jun); NAB 53(4): 398. Reportedly originally found by Nancy L. Newfield (fide Wallace).

One (1999-99) on 17 Sep 1999, Gulf of Mexico: 97 mi. S of New Orleans, South Pass 89B oil platform, 28°40'50²N, 89°23'15²W; Karl Bardon; NAB54(1):64.

One (2000-60) on 23 May 2000, Terrebonne: Isles Dernieres, East Island; Donna L. Dittmann and Steven W. Cardiff (ph).

One (00-74) on 29 Jul 2000, Vermilion: near 16634 Corporal Marceaux Road, S of W. Liberty Farm Road (south and west of Kaplan); B. Mac Myers III, Phillip Wallace, and Gwen B. Smalley (ph only); NAB 54(4): 391.

One adult (01-29) on 9-10 May 2001, Cameron: 5.5 mi. E of Sabine River on Hwy. 82; M. Mark Swan and Charles E. Lyon (ph taken 10 May).

One adult (2007-005) on 20-28 January 2007, Vermilion: ca 1 mi. W Andrew, near junction of Hwy. 700 and Hwy. 699; Devin Bosler, Paul E. Conover, and Dave Patton (ph only). Originally submitted as a Couch’s Kingbird. Paul E. Conover (ph).

Photo by Dave Patton

One female (2008-10) on 25 April 2008, Cameron: 1.5 mi. W old mouth Mermentau River (Rutherford Beach); B. Mac Myers III (DLD 9087, ph) and Phillip A. Wallace (ph). Upon initial examination, this specimen does not fall clearly within one species. See p. 6 for more information on identification.

One (2010-55) on 6 May 2010, Plaquemines: Chaland Headlands between Bastian Island and Chaland Pass, Steven W. Cardiff and Donna L. Dittmann (ph).

One (2012-136) on 12 May 2012, Cameron: Oak Grove, Joe Rutherford Rd.; Paul E. Conover (ph).

Photo by Paul E. Conover

One adult, post-breeding female (2012-099) on 30 September 2012, Cameron: approximately 8 mi. E of Cameron; Paul E. Conover (LSUMZ) and Donna L. Dittmann (DLD 10727; ph, p. 16). This bird has exceptionally worn wings and primary 5 is damaged. Bill/wing ratio keys out as a Tropical but probably best to accept at this time as Couch’s/Tropical until genetic identity can be confirmed.

One (2012-146) on 14 October 2012, Jefferson: Grand Isle, Ludwig Ln. near pumping station; Phillip A. Wallace (ph).

Photo by Phillip A. Wallace

One adult (2013-034) on 12 May 2013, Cameron: Johnsons Bayou, Hwy. 82 near mile marker 18 and entrance to Peveto Woods Sanctuary; Dan O’Malley (ph), Phillip A. Wallace (ph), and Paul E. Conover (ph [only]).

Photo by Dan O’Malley

Two interacting individuals (2013-079) on 18 May 2013, Cameron: Lighthouse Rd., ca 10 mi. W Johnsons Bayou; Paul E. Conover (ph).

Photo by Paul E. Conover

Unaccepted Records

Pair (1971-01; formerly 83-15) at Holly Beach, Cameron Parish, 8 May 1971. Louisiana records of this species will come under intense scrutiny following the addition of the very similar Tropical Kingbird (see above) to the state list. Contributors should be aware, however, that the Committee is willing to review records as unresolved identifications in the case of look-alike pairs such as this (e. g., the Committee will review records submitted as Tropical, Couch's, or Tropical/Couch's).

One (83-19) near Bains, West Feliciana Parish, on 3 June 1983.

One (85-14) on 7 Sep. 1985, Jefferson: Grand Isle. Descriptions and photographs were not adequate to identify this individual to this complex.

One (87-23) on 10 Apr. 1987, Lafourche: Fourchon Road between Leeville and Grand Isle. The main argument against this record was that Western Kingbird (T. verticalis) was not adequately eliminated by the description. Bill size, body size, and tail notch are very subjective characters. The throat-chest coloration was inadequately described. Some spring Western Kingbirds may have such worn outer rectrices that the white outer web is reduced or completely absent. Additionally, the bird was not heard, the description was written two weeks after the observation and was apparently based on memory, and no photographs were obtained.

One (1996-85) on 11 May 1996, DeSoto: 2 mi. W of Keatchie. This individual was apparently observed by numerous observers and reportedly photographed, yet only one report was received and it was not accompanied by photos. The single report was not detailed enough to identify this individual even to “complex.” The Committee would be happy to re-review this record if additional documentation is produced.